I had a chocolate cake craving the other night. But I was too tired to make something, so the next day I made these. The pumpkin pure keeps these cupcakes moist. Dulce de leche is the delicious glue to the crunchy caramel corn. A really indulgent treat!
This recipe makes 10 cupcakes.
For the cupcakes:
1 ¼ cups plus 1 tablespoon of all-purpose flour
½ cup plus 1 tablespoon of cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 ¼ teaspoons of baking powder
¼ teaspoon of cinnamon powder
¼ teaspoon of fresh grated nutmeg
¼ cup plus 3 tablespoons of buttermilk
¾ cup of pumpkin puree
1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
125gr butter, at room temperature
¾ cup brown sugar
¾ cup white sugar
For the caramel corn:
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
½ cup popcorn kernels
¾ cup of sugar
3 tablespoons of butter
¼ teaspoon of salt
1 ½ teaspoons of baking soda
¾ cup of water
400gr of dulce de leche
To make the cupcakes:
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.
Mix all of the dry ingredients except for the sugar. In a different bowl, mix the buttermilk, pumpkin and vanilla. In a large bowl, beat the butter with the sugar until it becomes fluffy. Then add the eggs, one at a time. Add the flour and buttermilk mixtures alternately to the eggs, until it is all mixed through.
Place the paper cupcake liners into the cupcake pan. Spoon the batter evenly and bake for 20 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Once they are baked, allow them to cool down for 5 minutes in the cupcake pan. Then remove them from the pan and allow them to cool down completely on a wire rack.
To make the popcorn:
Brush a large bowl and two wooden spoons or rubber spatulas with vegetable oil (you can also use cooking spray). Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large pan with a lid, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the popcorn, cover and keep the pan moving until all the kernels have popped. Transfer to the greased bowl. Remove any unpopped kernel.
In a medium pan, combine the butter, sugar, salt and ¾ cup of water. Cook over medium high heat until the mixture becomes a light golden color, about 10 minutes. Stir constantly. Remove from the heat and carefully whisk in the baking soda. Be careful because the baking soda will make the mixture bubble up.
Pour the caramel over the popcorn and working very quickly, mix it all through.
Spread the popcorn into the baking sheet and try to make chunks about the size of the cupcake tops. Allow to cool at room temperature. Make the caramel corn once you are ready to serve the cupcakes, or make it and store it in an airtight container and decorate the cupcakes once you are ready to serve them. Otherwise the caramel in the corn will get soggy.
When you are ready to serve, spread some dulce de leche on top of each cupcake, this will glue in the caramel corn. Top with a big chunk of caramel corn and enjoy!